When to seek help with chemical sensitivity?

Chemical sensitivity or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) should be properly diagnosed by a doctor. At the present, only a few are properly trained to recognize and manage chemical sensitivity. This is why some individuals are misdiagnosed, usually suffering from a psychiatric condition. The doctor should be able to identify the possibility that the individual might be affected and ensure that proper management is started.

The doctor will take a full medical and environmental exposure history. There are various methods that can be used in coming up with a diagnosis using laboratory testing. In some cases, a biochemical test of the nutritional status of the individual might be required.

Self-management of chemical sensitivity

Minimize exposure to chemicals

Minimizing exposure to chemicals can help lessen the chemical burden on the body. This also frees up the detoxification pathways in order to work more effectively. Nevertheless, some of the enzymes that detoxify the chemicals are inducible. It simply means that they are only produced as a response to the chemical present. Remember that obsessive avoidance of the chemical can lead to reduction in the ability to detoxify the chemical. Even though it is vital to create a safe haven at home, it is vital to maintain contact with the outside world.

Minimize exposure to other allergens

Chemical sensitivity

Individuals with chemical sensitivity have an increased tendency to be affected by other allergens such as mold, dust mites and animal dander.

Individuals with chemical sensitivity have an increased tendency to be affected by other allergens such as mold, dust mites and animal dander.


Good nutrition is vital in managing chemical sensitivity. There are various vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and proteins required for the proper functioning of the detoxification pathways. Those who have chemical sensitivity have an increased tendency to develop food intolerance. The risk is increased if the diet is limited as repeated eating of the same few foods makes it more likely that sensitivity to those foods will follow.

Chemical sensitivity avoidance

Individuals who are already chemically sensitive should observe avoidance. The individual must review all the substances that are present inside the house and eliminate them. In doing so, this will enable the detoxification pathway in the body to cope effectively.

First steps in chemical avoidance

  • Avoid smoking or do not allow others to smoke inside the house.
  • Do not use any hairspray or perfume
  • Only use fragrance-free shampoos and conditioners
  • It is recommended to switch to unscented deodorants preferably the roll-ons or sticks.
  • Utilize a “cleaner” toothpaste
  • Avoid using air fresheners, scented vacuum bags or carpet powder cleaners
  • It is recommended to use oxygen bleach.
  • Limit the use of disinfectants that exude a strong odor. If a disinfectant is required, look for one that will not leave behind any smell or residue.
  • Switch to an unscented soap powder that is suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Limit the use of furniture polishes and spray cleaners
  • Cleaning materials, brush cleaners and half-used paint tins should not be stored under the sink. They should be moved into the garage or stored in a bin.
  • When decorating, utilize low-odor, solvent-free paints, glues, varnishes and ensure proper ventilation.
  • Purchase an air filter for the house.


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